Olympiacos Cruises to European Final Beating Aston Villa 2-0

Ayoub El Kaabi scored twice to lead Olympiacos to its first European final. Credit: Facebook/Olympiacos.org

Olympiacos produced another magnificent display on Thursday night at Georgios Karaiskakis in Piraeus beating Aston Villa 2-0 and going through to the Europa Conference League final, its first-ever European final.

The Greek giants who won the first leg of the semi-final 4-2 won in easier-than-expected fashion, as the Premier League side did not pose the challenge one would have expected from a team that is close to a Champions League regular season ticket for next year.

Ayoub El Kaabi, who got a hat-trick in the first leg, scored twice for Olympiacos as the Greek side celebrated a historic win in front of its vigorous supporters.

The Olympiacos striker broke the deadlock in the 10th minute as Daniel Podence slid the ball down the line for fullback Quini who picked out the Moroccan at the far post for a simple finish.

The visitors dominated possession in the first half, with winger Leon Bailey coming closest to an equalizer with a blistering shot in first-half stoppage time that Konstantinos Tzolakis parried away for a corner.

The second half offered more of the same but instead it was El Kaabi who netted again to send Olympiacos into a European final for the first time in their 99-year history.

Villa saw plenty of the ball but more often than not they were faced with nine red-and-white striped shirts and the goalkeeper Tzolakis behind the ball. Ollie Watkins forced Tzolakis to push over a flying header in second-half stoppage time but otherwise there were few clear-cut chances.

The full-time whistle led to an eruption of joy at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, with some 35,000 fans partying wildly, while streets in Piraeus, Athens and other cities were immediately filled by raving fans of the Reds.

Olympiacos to face Fiorentina in the final in Athens

The only other time a Greek club had made a European final was 53 years ago, when Panathinaikos contested the Champions Cup final in 1971 at Wembley, losing 2-0 to Ajax.

Olympiacos will now meet Italy’s Fiorentina, who beat Club Brugge 4-3 on aggregate, on May 29 at the home of Greek rivals AEK Athens.

The Greek giants reached the semi-finals of the UEFA competition after winning the penalty shoot-out against Turkish side Fenerbache last month in the quarter-finals.

Olympiacos remain chasing a double, fighting for the title in the Greek top flight, fourth place but only one point off second – and now they have one foot in the final in Europe, too.

Olympiacos founded on 10 March 1925, is the most successful club in Greek football history, having won 47 League titles, 28 Cups (18 Doubles) and 4 Super Cups, all records.

Τotalling 79 national trophies, Olympiacos is 9th in the world in total titles won by a football club.

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